New Zealand: Introduction
Land of the Long White Cloud
For such a small country, New Zealand certainly packs a lot into its two main islands. The small population means that there’s plenty of space here, and the New Zealand countryside is renowned for its pristine beauty. There are fourteen national parks in New Zealand, and eighteen marine reserves, and the landscapes are as diverse as they are beautiful. Mount Cook National Park on South Island centres on Australasia’s highest mountain and New Zealand’s longest glacier, while you can stroll along golden beaches in Abel Tasman National Park, cruise past waterfalls in Fiordland National Park, and hike through the lush rainforest of Te Urewera National Park on North Island. Elsewhere you can see bubbling thermal mud pools and dramatic volcanic landscapes and if you’re lucky you might spot some of New Zealand’s unique wildlife, such as the flightless kiwi, kakapos and keas. New Zealanders are keen outdoors enthusiasts, and you’ll find no shortage of outdoor activities in New Zealand, from traditional pastimes like hiking, boating and surfing to paragliding, bungee jumping and all manner of weird and wonderful home-grown extreme sports. Those looking for a slower paced holiday in New Zealand won’t be disappointed either. If museums, art galleries, theatres and fine dining are more your scene, cities like Auckland, Welllington and graceful Christchurch are the places to go, while you can also go on tasting tours of many of New Zealand’s award-winning wineries. Meanwhile, for true relaxation, New Zealand spas are among the best in the world, and lying back in an outdoor thermal mud bath is the perfect way to conclude your holiday in New Zealand.